Race winner at Monaco last month, Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) kept the momentum going during the return to action for the Formula Renault Eurocup. With a new category track record at the Hungaroring, the French driver dominated the two collective test sessions ahead of Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP) and rookie Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing).
On Thursday, Sacha Fenestraz set the fastest time in the private tests in 1:41.256. The Frenchman went to the top of the charts in the first session before Robert Shwartzman took over, but Sacha Fenestraz answered back in the final two sessions.
Three within 0.040s
Will Palmer (R-ace GP) and Sacha Fenestraz both led the way early in the day before a stoppage provoked by Presley Martono (Mark Burdett Motorsport). When the action resumed, Yifei Ye and Max Defourny (R-ace GP) entered the mix, but Sacha Fenestraz went quicker before the red flag caused by Ghislain Cordeel (Arden Motorsport).
With nine minutes to go, Sacha Fenestraz improved to 1:40.838 to end the session on top, 0.004s ahead of Max Defourny. Renault Sport Academy Max Fewtrell driver (Tech 1 Racing), Yifei Ye and Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing) completed the top five.
A perfect day for Fenestraz
Under darker skies in the afternoon, Mas Defourny was at the sharp end of the order until he was bettered by Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports) and Gabriel Aubry.
With eight minutes remaining, Sacha Fenestraz began the final sprint during which Red Bull Junior Team Richard Verschoor driver (MP Motorsport) was the first to improve upon the best morning time. But, once again, it was Sacha Fenestraz setting the pace with a lap of 1:40.244, ahead of Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye, Gabriel Aubry and another protégé in the Austrian programme, Daniel Ticktum (Arden Motorsport).
Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “After nearly a month break, it felt good to be back on the track! It was important to be well-prepared this weekend, even more so because some drivers raced in the Formula Renault NEC season-opener last week at Monza. The first results show we’ve done a good job and I hope it will be even more so when it counts tomorrow. It will be an interesting day depending on what the weather will have in store for us.”
“After nearly a month break, it felt good to be back on the track! Tomorrow will be an interesting day depending on what the weather will have in store for us.”
Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP): “We worked on set-up in the first session. It was a little difficult to get there with the heat, but we did it in the afternoon. In spite of a few errors on my part, it was much better. The goal tomorrow will be to get the pole positions. It could rain, but that doesn’t pose a problem for me. No matter what happens, the conditions will be the same for everyone and we’ll have to do our best.”
Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “I raced here before during my first season in the Autosport Academy in 2015. With cars that are quite different and the resurfacing of the track since, it was a lot different. Since the three back-to-back meetings in May, I have worked a lot on my conditioning to get back in the fight for the title beginning in Hungary. The team gave me a good car to put me in the best possible conditions.”
Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing): “It is nice to return to the Hungaroring. I really like the track with its rather special rhythm that requires an atypical driving style. It is interesting to have to adapt to the circuit. The track has been repaved since the last time I was here in F4 and I was a little surprised yesterday and overdrove in some areas. Today, we focused on my development and that of the car. We have arrived at a level that should allow us to be in the top three or even take the pole tomorrow.”